A BYU-Idaho student has started a free ESL class to help anyone who wants to learn English and have the necessary tools to make that a reality. A couple of years ago BYU-Idaho German professor, Brian McDermott had an ESL class for the community of Rexburg, but when he left Idaho the class ended.
Joe Baird, director of Real World ESL and this author’s husband, met McDermott while he was serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Atlanta, Georgia. When he saw that they were having a lot of success with the English class in his mission he invited Baird to start the ESL class again in Rexburg, since he knew he was finishing his mission and heading to BYU-Idaho.
It seemed like Baird didn’t waste a second and started networking with people at the university and community as soon as he arrived.
Baird started the class in April of 2019. It is now called Real World ESL: English Learning That Helps.
“It’s been an incredible process of getting the English class started and we are hoping to see it grow even more,” Baird said.
What motivated him to start the English class was to be able to see how much it could have an impact in other people’s lives.
“A lot of these people who we teach English to are either immigrants or refugees and then they come to the English class and they learn English and it completely changes their life,” he said. “The blessing that that is for people, and for me to see that come to pass, is everything to me. That’s all I want to see is those people have those blessings in their lives.”
There are currently 10 volunteers in the class and there are multiple roles they play a part of in this service project. Volunteer positions include teachers who help the students improve their English and get prepared for a test of their choice to earn an English certificate; marketing specialists who are in charge of advertising the class to increase the number of students who attend; the head teacher who instructs teachers to know how they can improve in their ESL teaching abilities; and the assistant director.